by Bianca DeStout
• Engaging the meeting attendee with the right venue
Today’s meeting attendee has limited attention. Our phones, the latest viral Facebook videos (admit it, we all watch them), a trending headline – all of these are distractions. When helping meeting planners find venues that will capture and, more importantly, hold their meeting attendees’ attention, adhere to the following ideas that pack a meaningful punch:
We want events and meeting venues to elicit high energy, lean into the untraditional, encourage exploration, and have efficient traffic flow.
Memories are made when we lean into the untraditional. In my role, one of my favorite experiences is encouraging meeting planners to explore their imaginations. Go untraditional at establishments off-site, or transform a hotel ballroom into something unexpected. Last year, the AAA Four Diamond Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee transformed into a coffee shop for a meeting. Usually a more traditional space, The Pfister ballroom was decorated in elaborate coffee shop décor complete with onsite baristas, espresso machines, and handcrafted coffee shop pastries.
Meeting planners that find venues open to encouraging exploration outside the four walls of the hotel can help attendees create lasting memories. When in Milwaukee, for instance, we want meeting attendees to explore the city beyond the hotels. The hotels located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee are within walking distance of the city’s thriving arts, music, and business hubs. This means planners have the opportunity to partner with many local restaurants, breweries, concert venues, museums, and more to showcase all that this great city has to offer.
Finally, the simplest of the four ideas, but often a missed opportunity – every successful meeting or event has efficient traffic flow. If an event has poor traffic flow (i.e., a reception that takes place in a venue with multiple floors or segmented rooms), attendees will find it difficult to meet new people or experience the full event space. Meeting guests may end up in one small area for most of the event in order to carry on a conversation. At Marcus Hotels & Resorts, we take traffic flow and effective use of space seriously. By setting up lounge seating areas within a larger ballroom, or pairing communal pre-function spaces alongside a ballroom, we can help meeting attendees navigate networking, relationship building, and comradery during an event more easily and comfortably.
These four principles are simple. In our 100-miles-an-hour business world, taking a moment to remind ourselves of the understated values of an engaging venue can mean the difference between snoozing attendees and attendees sharing memories six months later.
About Bianca DeStout
Bianca DeStout is an account executive representing the Milwaukee properties (The Pfister Hotel, Hilton Milwaukee City Center and InterContinental Milwaukee) of hotel owner and management company, Marcus Hotels & Resorts. In her role, DeStout oversees the east coast association and multi-cultural markets. She is an award-winning team member, who earned the company’s highest honor, the President’s Circle Award, which recognizes individuals with the highest annual sales, within her first year in her current role. Connect with DeStout or learn more about meetings at Marcus Hotels & Resorts by visiting its new meetings focused website: www.marcusmeetings.com.